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Cyrano de Bergerac

Edmond Rostand

Summary and Analysis Act III — Scene 4


Christian refuses to memorize speeches tonight. He is tired of pretense: He knows enough, he says, to take a woman in his arms. He knows that Roxane loves him, and refuses to continue this uncomfortable and demeaning role.


We have already seen, in Act II, that Christian is no coward, though he lacks the facility with words that Roxane demands of a lover. Here, we see that he has moral courage as well. Cyrano is not the only noble character in this play. If Christian had never protested the deception that he and Cyrano are perpetrating upon Roxane, we would think much less of him, and it is necessary that he be a noble idealist, though of course much less so than Cyrano. Without this protest, he would seem a rather despicable character. This scene makes his plight a tragic one, for he feels that he can accomplish his purpose by means of his own capabilities when, in fact, he cannot. Thus, the scene also raises the situation above the comic or the opportunistic aspect it might otherwise have had.